Get your annual flu shot
Getting the flu shot is an easy step you can take to protect your health — and it’s especially important for people with lupus.
Why do I need to get the flu shot?
The flu shot (or vaccine) helps your body fight off the viruses that cause the flu. People with lupus may be more likely to catch the flu, and more likely to have serious health problems if they catch the flu. That’s because:
- Having lupus means that the body’s immune system doesn’t work correctly to protect you from illnesses like the flu
- Some people with lupus take prescribed medicines called immune suppressants — these medicines help to prevent lupus flares, but they can also make it even harder for your body to fight off illnesses
Check in with your doctor before getting the flu shot if you’re pregnant or if you’ve had a bad reaction to the flu shot or any other shots in the past.
Why do I need to get the flu shot every year?
The flu shot only works for a short period of time after you get it. The viruses that cause the flu change over time, so scientists update the flu shot every year to make sure it still works to protect us from the flu.
When should I get the flu shot?
Doctors recommend you get the flu shot early in the fall before the flu starts going around. Plan to get your shot by the end of October at the latest.
Should I get the flu shot or the FluMist nose spray?
Be sure to ask your doctor for the regular flu shot, not the FluMist nose spray. The spray has live flu viruses that may not be safe for people with lupus.
Can I still get the flu if I’ve had the flu shot?
While it’s less likely, it is still possible to get the flu after you’ve had the flu shot. If you do get the flu, the shot will help your body fight it off, so you’ll probably have milder symptoms.
Will I have any side effects after getting the flu shot?
You may notice swelling in the area where you got your flu shot, a low fever, or muscle aches. These side effects usually go away within a few days — and they’re less serious than flu symptoms.
While it’s uncommon, some people may have a lupus flare after getting the flu shot. Call your doctor if you notice signs of a flare after getting your shot.
Do I need any other vaccines?
It’s especially important for people with lupus to stay up to date on vaccines. Learn about other vaccines that can help you stay healthy and ask your doctor what vaccines you should take.
Our health educators are available to answer your questions and give you the help you need.